DAVE LEEBRICK produced this selection.

William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas
was first published in 1883 by A. T. Andreas, Chicago, IL.


PART 1: Location and General Features | Map and Population | Organization and County Officers | Fort Dodge | Dodge City
PART 2: Biographical Sketches
PART 3: Spearville


Ford County is the southwesternmost (sic) organized county of Kansas, embracing Townships 25, 26, 27, 28 and 29 of Ranges 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26, being thirty miles from north to south and thirty-six miles from east to west, possessing an area of 1,080 square miles.

The country is comparatively level, 20 per cent of the land, being bottom land, - which along the Arkansas has an average width of fifteen miles; the upland is 80 per cent, and but a small portion of it is bluffy. Good building stone is found in the county contiguous to Fort Dodge, and near Spearville is found good sand and a good quality of limestone. The county is well watered, the Arkansas River flowing forty miles through the county, and other smaller streams coursing through it in various directions. The most important of these are Mulberry, Five-Mile, Kiowa, Spring and Crooked creeks. Timber is very scanty; what there is, is mostly cottonwood and box elder. These kinds are mostly grown on the timber claims. The county was named for Col. James H. Ford, of the Second Colorado Cavalry.



(a) Dodge Township, including Dodge City     1,854
(b) Spearville Township .....................  718
(c) Wheatland Township ......................  550
Dodge City ...............................     996

(a) Organized in 1874, from part of Hodgeman County;
    in 1877 part detached to form Spearville.
(b) Organized in 1877, from part of Dodge;
    in 1879, part detached to form Wheatland.
(c) Organized in 1879, from part of Spearville.


Governor Thomas A. Osborn, in his proclamation providing for the organization of Ford County, on April 5, 1873, appointed Charles Rath, J. G. McDonald and Daniel Wolf special County Commissioners, and Herman J. Fringer special County Clerk. This body met at Dodge City and made choice of Charles Rath as Chairman of the Board. James Hanrahan was appointed Commissioner in place of Mr. Wolf, who was not in the county. An election for county officers was ordered June 5, 1873, and at that election the following named persons were elected, the first body of officers for Ford County: Charles Rath, A. C. Myers and F. C. Zimmerman, County Commissioners; Herman J. Fringer, County Clerk and Clerk of the District Court; A. J. Anthony, County Treasurer; Chas. E. Bassett,. Sheriff; T. L. McCarty, Coroner; H. Armitage, Register of Deeds; George B. Cox, Probate Judge; M. V. Cutter, County Attorney. M. Collar was Trustee of Dodge Township; P. T. Bowen and Thomas C. Nixon, Justices of the Peace.

A. C. Myers was selected Chairman of this Board; M. V. Cutter resigned the position of County Attorney, and was appointed Commissioner vice Rath, resigned July 24, 1873; M. V. Cutter was appointed Chairman vice Myers. The county was divided into two municipal townships. Dodge Township embraced Township 26, Range 25; Ford Township, the rest of Ford County.

The first county warrants were issued on claims growing out of a Coroner's inquest on the supposed body of Michael Stanton. T. L. McCarty was allowed $25 for professional fees as Coroner; October 6, 1873, county warrants were issued to meet the expenses incurred on holding a Coroner's inquest on the body of William Ellis and of Mrs. M. Bradley. The salary of the County Clerk was set at $250 per year.

At the election, November 4, 1873, James Hanrahan was elected Representative; A. J. Anthony, A. J. Peacock and Charles Rath, County Commissioners; William F. Sweeney, County Clerk; A. B. Webster, County Treasurer; Charles E. Bassett, Sheriff; T. L. McCarty, Coroner; John Kirby, Surveyor; M. J. Bruin, Register of Deeds; George B. Cox, Probate Jugde (sic); L. D. Henderson, County Attorney; M. Collar, Superintendent of Public Instruction; John McDonald, Clerk of the District Court. A. J. Peacock was chosen Chairman of this Board. At this session, December 23, 1873, a contract was made with R. M. Wright for the use of building for the county at $5 per month.

The following is a list of county officers of Ford County from 1873 to 1883, inclusive.

County Commissioners.-1873, J. G. McDonald, James Hanrahan, M. V. Cutter, A. C. Myer, F. C. Zimmerman; 1873-77, Charles Rath, A. J. Anthony; 1873-80, A. J. Peacock; 1878, George B. Cox; 1878-81, J. W. Sidlow; 1879-82, G. M. Hoover; 1881-83, A. J. Anthony; 1882-83, J. D. Shaffer; 1883, F. C. Zimmerman.

County Clerks.-1873, Herman J. Fringer; 1873-75, William F. Sweeney; 1876-79, John B. Means; 1880, Otto Miller, George W. Potter; 1882-83, H. P. Myton.

County Treasurers. - 1873, A. J. Anthony; 1873-77, A. B. Webster; 1878-79, Charles H. Lane; 1880-81, F. C. Zimmerman; 1882-83, R. W. Evans.

Sheriffs. - 1873-77, Charles E. Bassett; 1878-79, W. B. Masterson; 1880-83, Geo. T. Hinkle.

Clerks of District Court, - 1873, Herman J. Fringer; 1874-76, John McDonald; 1877-78, Henry Boyer; 1879-81, H. P. Myton; 1882-83, W. F. Petillon.

County Attorneys, - 1873, M. V. Cutter; 1874, L. D. Henderson; 1875-76, C. F. Jones; 1877-81, M. N. Sutton; 1881-82, I. S. Jones; 1882-83, J. F. Whitelaw.

Probate Judges. - 1873-74, George B. Cox; 1875-78, H. J. Fringer; 1879-80, N. B. Kline; 1881-82, Lloyd Shinn; 1883, H. J. Fringer.

Register of Deeds. - 1873, H. Armitage; 1874-75, M. J. Bruin; 1876-77, James Layton; 1878-79, A. H. Hale; 1880-81, W. F. Petillon; 1882-83, B. A. Jones.

The First Commissioners' District contains Spearville and Wheatland townships; the Second, the remaining part of the county lying north of the Arkansas; the Third, that portion south of the Arkansas River.

The County Superintendents of Public Instruction have been M. Collar, Thomas L. McCarty, J. H. Van Voorhees and John Whitaker. Those who have held the office of County Surveyor are John Kirby, H. F. McCarty, Charles Van Trump, Frederick Singer and H. B. Van Vorhees.

Representation in the State Legislature. - Henry C. St. Clair of Sumner Count (sic) represented the Twenty-fifth Senatorial District, of which Ford County was a part, in the sessions of 1875 and 1876; M. M. Murdock of Sedgwick County was the Senator in the session of 1874, elected before Ford County was organized; Thomas T. Taylor, of Reno County, of the Thirty-seventh District, represented this territory in the sessions of 1877 and 1879; J. C. Strang, of Pawnee, in 1881, Simon Motz, of Ellis, in 1883. In the House was James Hanrahan in the session of 1874; Robert M. Wright, in 1875, 1877, 1879 and 1881; D. M. Frost, in 1876; G. M. Hoover, in 1883.

Ford County was at first the One Hundred and Third Representative District; by the Legislative apportionment of 1876, it became the One Hundred and Twenty-second; by that of 1881, it was the One Hundred and Eighteenth District. It is the southwest organized county of the Thirty-fifth Senatorial District which elects a Senator in 1884. The district embraces the organized counties of Barber, Pratt, Stafford, Pawnee, Edwards, Ford, Hodgeman and Ness, and the unorganized counties of Lane, Scott, Wichita, Greeley, Hamilton, Kearney, Sequoyah, Gray, Arapahoe, Grant, Stanton, Kansas, Stevens, Seward, Meade, Clark and Comanche, making in all twenty-five counties, nearly one-fourth of the area of the State.

Statistics. - Ford County is in the Arkansas Valley Land District, the office of which is located at Larned, Pawnee County; Charles A. Morris, Register; Henry Booth, Receiver. It has 31,360 acres of public land, 322,560 acres of Osage Indian Trust lands, 91,917 acres of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad lands, the average price of which per acre is $3.25. In 1874, there were 120,061 taxable acres; under cultivation, 95; value of the crop, $230. The people were short of breadstuffs; they had a surplus of buffalo meat. No fall wheat was sown for fear of the grasshoppers and drought. Though there were 35 families, numbering 150 persons, who might require assistance, it was reported that they would get along if "buffaloes remain and Indians stay away." In that event, said Mr. Isaac Young, "We are a free and happy people."

In 1874, there were 82 acres in sod corn; 8, in Irish potatoes, 5, in oats. The following table shows the acreage of different products for a series of years subsequent to 1874.

                            1875   1876   1877  1878   1879   1882
                            ----   ----   ----  ----   ----   ----
    Winter wheat..........     1    630    177   732  4,379  7,080
    Corn..................    41  1,040    154   300    337  5,865
    Oats..................     8    180     19   169  1,424    360
    Irish potatoes........     6     18     11    28     92    150
    Millet and Hungarian..    26     53     12   178    990  1,207

Red May and Turkey are the kinds of wheat successfully raised. Nearly all of the county is open range. Cost of grazing for the season is 25 cents per head; prairie hay in stack, $5 per ton; herd law in force; cattle feed on buffalo grass nine months of the year. Sheep-raising is confined to the sheep men with large flocks.


Colonel Henry Dodge of the United States Army, left Fort Leavenworth, May 29, 1835, on an expedition to the Rocky Mountains. He followed the west bank of the Missouri, nearly to the mouth of the Platte, and followed it to its source. He then went south to the head waters of the Arkansas, and returning through its valley located a fort on the north side of the Arkansas, which was named Dodge, and is located some four miles below where Dodge City is now located. It has the finest military garrison on the frontier; the buildings are in excellent condition, having ample room for several regiments of soldiers, and in proximity to it is a large military reservation of upwards of 30,000 acres, which is regarded as a first-class place for a Soldiers' Home. Hon. Preston B. Plumb, of the United States Senate, has introduced a bill in the Senate for the establishment of a Soldiers' Home in Kansas, and Hon. G. M. Hoover, the Representative from Ford County to the State Legislature, has introduced a concurrent resolution in the House, asking that it be established at Fort Dodge.


In August, 1872, buffalo hunters and business men in various branches of industry, were attracted to this place. Buffalo hides were extensively shipped from here, and the hunters here obtained their supplies. In some three years this became the objective point for the Texas cattle trade; the cowboys from the Plains driving in here large quantities for shipment. In 1880, about 300,000 head of cattle were sold to the ranches south and west; 60,000 sheep, in flocks ranging from 200 to 2,000.

In the early history of the place, there were more or less of occurrences that savored of a border civilization, and repelled therefrom settlers of aesthetic tendencies and of high culture. But the gradual changes that have occurred, make this a point with many things desirable about it for a permanent home. Illustrative of its earlier civilization is the following resolution, adopted by the Ford County Commissioners in session May 13, 1874:

Resolved, by the board, that the following resolution be adopted: That any person who is not engaged in any legitimate business, and any person under influence of intoxicating drinks, and any person who has ever borne arms against the Government of the United States, who shall be found within the limits of the town of Dodge City, bearing on his person a pistol, bowie knife, dirk, or other deadly weapon, shall be subject to arrest upon charge of misdemeanor, and upon conviction shall be fined in a sum not exceeding $100, or by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding three months, or both, at the discretion of the court, and same to take effect on date.

This might provoke an inquiry whether legal trancendentalism had here its culmination, but nine years later, the pistol and the bowie knife have given way to more humane symbols of civilization, and while Dodge City has a full quota of liquor saloons, it has a neat temple of justice, a good school building, church edifices, good newspapers, and a courteous, earnest, and progressive element in its society. Its population is just about 1,000. H. J. Fringer was the first postmaster; Lloyd Shinn, one of the most estimable citizens of the State, died while holding the office, in December, 1882, and Nicholas B. Klaine is his successor. The Bank of Dodge City was established in 1882, with a capital stock of $50,000. G. M. Hoover is President; R. W. Evans, Cashier; H. J. Fringer, Assistant Cashier. Its correspondents are the Bank of Kansas City, the Continental Bank of St. Louis, Donnell, Lawson & Simpson, New York. Its hotels are the Dodge House, City Hotel, Grand Central, Wright House, Iowa House, and South Side Hotel. The Dodge City Flouring Mills, O. Marsh & Co., proprietors, are very well fitted to supply the surrounding country with the choicest of flour.

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad Company are building at Dodge City, a station 24x80 feet, 24 feet high, two-stories, bay windows. It will contain the ticket, telegraph and freight offices, with rooms in the upper story for the agents to reside in. The platform will be some 300 feet in length. Two roundhouses with 267 stalls each, are to be erected. The ground is laid out for the building of a machine shop in the center and south of the roundhouses. Material stands in front of the machine shop site for three turn tables, one for each roundhouse, and one to be in front of the machine shop. Work is being done on the elevated track for the new coal chute, which when built will be the largest on the road. When completed the stock-yards will be over two miles long, and by railroad men is known as a double yard. There will be five switches on the south side of the main track; four on the north side, making working facilities for four switch engines, if necessary. All of the low land is so graded that the many acres occupied by the yards are as level as a hall floor. Each compartment of the stock-yards has its own lock and key. The pens are all provided with water tanks and feed boxes. Hoybin's patent stock chute will be used in loading the stock. The sheep pens are well laid out on the north side.

The site of the Ford County court house is a beautiful one, standing on the rise north from Broadway, where the beautiful valley of the Arkansas is seen for miles east and west of the city. The court room is the upper story, and the basement is the jail. It is a brick structure, and cost about $8,000. It was completed in the summer of 1876. The old Toll House became the Ford County Poorhouse in the winter of 1874. February 10, 1876, bridge bonds were voted by a vote of 111 to 41; current expenses bonds by a vote of 119 to 33.

Prior to April 15, 1875, Ford County paid for rent of buildings for use of the county, $75 per month. A reduction was then made to $50 per month, which price obtained the completion and occupation of the court house. Shawnee and Reno counties boarded Ford Count prisoners before the jail was occupied at large.


Schools. - The counties of Clark, Meade, Gray and Sequoyah have edcational (sic) matters cared for in the organized county of Ford. John Whitaker, County Superintendent of Ford, reports in 1882, sixteen school districts in Ford County; joint district one with Edwards; joint district one of Clark and Meade; district No. 2, in Meade; district No. 1, in Gray; district No. 1, Sequoyah. The average pay per month of male teachers is $41.65; of female teachers, $32.40; persons of school age in 1879 were 439. In 1880 it was 5?3; in 1882 it was 1,002. The Dodge City school had an enrollment of 284 pupils for December, 1882. The number of persons of school age in the district was 450. Five teachers are employed; the principal, John Groendyke, has $65 per month; the four female teachers have an average of $41 per month. The school building is a neat, roomy structure in the southwest part of the city, built of brick. John Whitaker is President, John Groendyke Secretary of the Ford County Teachers' Association.

Churches. - There are Baptist, Methodist Episcopal, Protestant Episcopal, and Catholic organizations at Dodge. The Presbyterians have an edifice in the northwest part of the city; the Catholic Church stands north of it and the Union Church is in the northeast part of the city. Rev. J. R. Blanton, is the Baptist clergyman; Rev. Mr. Buzzell, the Methodist; Rev. W. P. Teitesworth, the Presbyterian. Rev. Adams Peabody, of Larned, the State Missionary of the church of the New Jerusalem, has been laboring at this point.

Societies. - St. Bernard's Lodge, A., F.& A. M. Meets on the first and third Fridays of each month; P. W. Beamer is W. M.; Otto Mueller, Secretary. Corona Lodge, No. 137, I. O. O. F. meets every Wednesday evening at their new lodge room over the City Hotel; H. C. Callison is N. G.; P. W. Beamer, Secretary. Apollo Lodge, No. 62, K. of P. Has now the following officers: P. W. Beamer, C. C.; L. C. Hartman, V. C.; Charles Coe, K. of R. & S.; Charles Dickerson, M. of F.; P. G. Reynolds, M. of E.; P. R. Hobbie, M. at A. The Cowboy Minstrels, is a semi-operatic organization. The Dodge City Gun Club is a late organization. The city contains a large number of excellent sportsmen. The Dodge City Dramatic Society, J. W. Young, manager, furnishes considerable entertainment in comedy and tragedy.

Newspapers. - A. W. Moore, who established the Jackson County News at Holton, in October 1867, in February, 1874, moved his printing material to Dodge City and established the Dodge City Messenger. The publication of the Messenger was suspended in 1875. Mr. Moore, in 1883, is in the newspaper business at Gunnison, Colorado.

Lloyd and Walter C. Shinn were pioneers in the printing business in Western Kansas, having established in Rice County its first newspaper, called the Rice County Herald. They founded the Times at Dodge City May 20, 1876. On December 1, 1877, Nicholas B. Klaine purchased the interest of Walter and in August, 1878, the interest of Lloyd, and became its sole manager; and, in 1883, has the exclusive proprietorship of the paper.

The Ford County Globe was established at Dodge City, in December, 1877, by William N. Morphy and D. M. Frost. Mr. Morphy was editor; he retired from the paper about a year later. Lloyd Shinn became connected with Mr. Frost in the publication of the Globe, and sold out to him his interest in that paper in the summer of 1882; and Mr. Frost is the editor and proprietor in 1883. These papers were Republican in their politics.

[TOC] [part 2] [Cutler's History]